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Peak home-selling season off to slow start

first_imgDALLAS – The peak spring home-selling season is off to a slow start, builder D.R. Horton Inc. said Tuesday, another sign that bad times in the housing market may last longer than expected. Horton, the nation’s largest homebuilder by deliveries, said Tuesday that its sales order in the most recent quarter fell 37 percent, led by even steeper declines in California and the Southwest. The grim report trumped recent indications that sales of homes, especially existing houses, had been improving. “It appeared demand had stabilized, but this throws that into question,” said Bernard Markstein, an economist for the National Association of Home Builders. Horton and other builders have been forced to throw in incentives to generate sales. They have also reduced the number of homes under construction, dumped lots and backed out of options for new land. Shares of Horton were traded down 34 cents or, 1.54 percent, to close at $21.70 Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange. They have traded in a 52-week range of $19.52 to $35. Experts said some of the factors that overheated housing markets in the past several years – especially easy financing for buyers with marginal credit and growing use of zero-down loans to afford pricey houses – were coming back to haunt builders. People who bought homes at low teaser interest rates are now seeing their monthly payments soar. Many of them can’t afford the new payments nor can they refinance under today’s tougher underwriting standards. “These people are now putting those homes back on the market. Most of them are nearly new homes, and they’re competing with the builders,” said Bruce Norris, a longtime real estate investor in Riverside. “This is not a solvable problem anytime soon,” Norris said. “It’s going to run its course,” which he predicted won’t be over until 2010. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Horton’s founder and chairman, Donald R. Horton, said that conditions for selling homes “continue to be challenging in most of our markets,” as the supply of unsold new and existing homes remained high. “We continue to sell more homes than any other builder, even though the spring selling season has not gotten off to its usual strong start,” he said. The Fort Worth-based company said net sales orders for the quarter ended March 31 totaled 9,983 homes, down from 15,771 a year ago. The value of the orders dropped 40 percent, to $2.6 billion from $4.4 billion a year ago. The decline in orders was sharpest in California, plunging 59 percent to 1,107 from 2,697 a year earlier. Orders in the Southwest fell 39 percent. The smallest decline: 21 percent in the Northeast. The weak quarter followed a 23 percent drop in orders during the last three months of 2006. last_img read more

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Who should Manchester United sign if Paul Pogba leaves?

first_imgManchester United need to start planning for life without Paul Pogba. When asked about his future this week, Pogba said it could be “a good time for a new challenge somewhere else”.When it comes to transfers, Ole Gunnar Solskjær has made it clear he wants the club to move away from the model that has failed in recent years. The manager wants to bring in young, hungry players whose wage demands will not break the bank. So, who could fill the void if Pogba leaves?We have taken Pogba’s statistics from last season and compared them against six players who could fit into the United midfield. The players were all compared against Pogba’s numbers per 90 minutes for non-penalty goals (0.18), assists (0.27), passes into and inside the final third (27.19), key passes from open play (1.62), dribbles (1.79), dribble success (65.2%) and tackles (1.41).Pogba is a unique and mercurial talent whose style of play makes him a magnet for the spotlight, but Manchester United should not be too panicked about replacing the numbers he posts. If the club want a player who produces similar statistics to Pogba, Maddison would be a good option; if they want a more creative, team-orientated player, Ruiz may be their man; and, if they want a goalscoring midfielder, Van de Beek is one of the finest in Europe. Like Tielemans, Van de Beek has been linked with a move to United but he isn’t particularly similar to Pogba either. The Dutch international may be good signing but he wouldn’t really fill Pogba’s boots.The 22-year old enjoyed a fantastic season in front of goal, helping to fire Ajax to the Eredivisie title. He is a midfielder who likes to arrive late in the box and take up goalscoring positions. A Lampard-like player in that sense, Van de Beek comes out on top in terms of goals (0.33 per 90 minutes) and assists (0.37 per 90 minutes). Although he isn’t really the sort of player who will link play in advanced positions (he made just 13.61 final third passes per 90 minutes) or break the lines with his dribbling (0.77 per 90).In summary, there are players out there with bags of potential who could take Pogba’s place in the team. Getting value for money may prove tougher than replacing a player who has blown boiling hot and freezing cold during his second spell in Manchester.• Visit WhoScored for more statistics and ratings• Follow WhoScored and Martin Laurence on Twitter features Paul Pogba Manchester United Reuse this content Infographic: WhoScored Share via Email Pinterest Share on Messenger Twitter Share on Pinterest Share on LinkedIncenter_img Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Facebook Transfer window James Maddison, Leicester CityOf the six players selected here, James Maddison is the closest match to Pogba based on his statistics from last season. It was the 22-year-old’s first campaign in top-flight football, but he stepped up with ease.Maddison’s figures for assists (0.22), dribbles (1.58) and passes in the final third (23.2) fell short of Pogba’s. However, the two players created a near identical number of chances from open player (1.61 per 90 minutes) and Maddison was on top when it came to goals (0.19), successful tackles (1.52) and dribble success rate (68.5%).Fabián Ruiz, NapoliHaving been forced to bide his time for a starting role at Napoli, Fabián Ruiz became increasingly influential for Carlo Ancelotti’s side as the season wore on. His form towards the end of the campaign has reportedly aroused the interest of Real Madrid, with Napoli apparently demanding at least double the €30m they paid to sign the Spaniard from Real Betis last summer.Given the transfer fees United are thought to be weighing up, that wouldn’t necessarily be a stumbling block for a player who outperformed Pogba last season by a significant margin in many areas. While Fabián registered notably fewer assists, his overall creativity was sensational, averaging a remarkable 2.8 key passes from open play, 31.93 passes in the final third and an impressive 2.44 tackles per 90 minutes.Giovani Lo Celso, Real BetisGiovani Lo Celso was effectively Fabian’s replacement at Real Betis last season and he was an extremely shrewd signing for the club, who are now in line to make a huge profit on the Argentinian. The 23-year-old’s versatility would make him an asset to any side; he previously operated as a deep-lying playmaker at PSG before adopting a far more advanced role in Spain.Lo Celso, who is currently representing his country at the Copa América, is coming off a prolific season. He averaged 0.26 goals per 90, but he isn’t as creative as Pogba, or indeed much of the competition here. He makes up for that with his dribbling (2.35 successful dribbles per 90 minutes) and tackling (1.98 per 90 minutes).Houssem Aouar, LyonIf a move for Maddison proves too costly for United, Houssem Aouar offers a startlingly similar skillset. The Frenchman usually operates from a deeper position than Maddison, but he matched his tallies for both goals and assists last season (seven each). And, at just 20 years old, he is the youngest player analysed here. Aouar beat Pogba in term of goals and tackles per 90 minutes, but he fell short of his countryman in the other five metrics.Youri Tielemans, Monaco (on loan at Leicester)Another player reportedly on United’s radar this summer, Tielemans impressed during his loan spell at Leicester City and looks set for a permanent move away from Monaco this summer. The Belgium international, like Pogba, isn’t shy to shoot from distance but, aside from his goalscoring (0.23 goals per 90 minutes) and tackling (2.01 per 90 minutes), his figures don’t quite stack up to the competition.The 22-year-old has an eye for a pass, but he isn’t overly creative, averaging modest returns for assists (0.16), passes in the final third (19.95) and key passes from open play (1.04) per 90 minutes. Nor does he really drive his team on in possession when it comes to dribbling. If United want a like-for-like replacement for Pogba, Tielemans isn’t the right man.Donny van de Beek, Ajax Guardian Sport Network Share on Facebook Read more Share on Twitter The top transfer targets in action at the Copa América Topics Share on WhatsApplast_img read more

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Drug expert urges patients on highdose painkillers to get naloxone

first_imgTORONTO – A prominent drug safety expert says some people dependent on high-dose prescription opioids should consider having another drug on hand at all times — a naloxone kit in case of overdose.Dr. David Juurlink, head of clinical pharmacology and toxicology at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, is urging broader adoption of the life-saving antidote more commonly associated with the fentanyl crisis.“The idea that naloxone is purely for people with addiction I think is a seriously misguided one. If somebody is on fentanyl patches for chronic pain, most of those people you can make an argument that they should have naloxone in the household, even if they seem to be functioning well,” says Juurlink.Even those who follow their doctor’s orders are at risk of being harmed by their medication, he says, especially when the drug is combined with sedatives, sleeping pills or anxiety medication.“For a patient who’s ever had anything resembling an overdose or who is falling asleep on their opioids or is on high-dose opioids, I think it’s a very good idea for that patient and their family to be aware of the potential utility of naloxone and to know how to use it,” he says.“There’s no downside to having naloxone in the home.”Longtime users of narcotics are typically on high doses because they’ve become tolerant over time. And the higher the dose, the bigger the risk, says Juurlink, adding that someone prescribed just eight pills of Percocet after dental surgery probably doesn’t need a naloxone kit.The life-saving drug is available as a nasal spray or in injectable form without a prescription. But Juurlink says most pharmacies do not carry naloxone and access varies across Canada, with concentrated availability in areas known for illicit intravenous drug use.It’s targeted at people at risk of an opioid overdose and people likely to witness and respond to an overdose, such as family and friends.British Columbia remains ground zero for Canada’s opioid epidemic, with the coroners service recording 640 illicit drug overdose deaths during the first five months of the year.Provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall says the province sees about 75 prescription overdose deaths a year — mostly individuals using other substances such as alcohol and antidepressants. But patients often die in their sleep and it can then be difficult to determine whether overdose was a factor, Kendall adds.He was cautious in calling for expanded distribution of naloxone.“These people are more at risk from (taking multiple prescription drugs) or sometimes themselves getting diverted to additional drugs or alcohol. Or they’re more at risk … if they’re being withdrawn too quickly,” he says.“The answer there is to look to better prescribing.”Guidelines published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal in May say clinicians may provide naloxone to those at risk of overdose but that current “low quality” evidence doesn’t back suggestions it would reduce deaths.Still, it said naloxone could be considered when rotating opioids, since patients may take more than their prescribed dose. It also said the mere suggestion of naloxone would highlight potential risks and could lead to increased vigilance.Despite encouraging broader deployment, Juurlink says it wouldn’t make sense to make naloxone as easily found as defibrillators.“It does cost some money to put naloxone in every McDonald’s and every Burger King and every Tim Hortons,” he says.“(But) anywhere in (Vancouver’s) downtown east side, or anywhere there’s lots of drug use, I think you can make a case that naloxone should be available in every nightclub and in restaurants and public washrooms.”He also cautioned against reading too much into recent reports suggesting it’s possible to inadvertently overdose on fentanyl. He said the case of a 10-year-old Miami boy who died after mysteriously coming into contact with fentanyl during a trip to his neighbourhood pool is extremely rare.And Juurlink cast doubt on an Ohio police officer’s claim that he overdosed on fentanyl after touching it at a crime scene.“There’s a lot of hysteria about this,” he says. “Getting a bit of fentanyl on your skin and washing it off is not generally going to be a concern.”last_img read more

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